Broke-Ass Grouch

Susan Gregory Thomas (a.k.a. Broke-Ass Grouch) is a journalist and the author of Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds, and the upcoming memoir In Spite of Everything, to be published by Random House in July 2011. Formerly a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report and co-host of public television's Digital Duo, she has also written for Time, The Washington Post, Glamour, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Cities

Why Broke-Ass is a patriot

Broke-Ass goes off on bicycle lanes, Northern Europe, and the smugness of the eco-movement in general, before telling a few stories about what makes this country great.

Urban Agriculture

Too chicken: Why and how to raise chickens in the city

No matter how broke you are, chickens can help you keep some dignity about you.Photo: Stu MayhewWhen last we fetched up, babydolls, Broke-Ass was waxing pedantic about the primacy of stocking the pantry as nutritiously and cheaply as possible. One alert soul commented: “Where are the eggs? Nature’s most perfect food with as many ways to fix them as your imagination can accommodate.” A flawless observation, “jjfahl“! As it happens, Broke-Ass has so many damn eggs that, at times, she feels that she might prefer to shove bamboo shoots underneath her fingernails than to sup upon another oeuf. This is …

Family

Stocking the Broke-Ass pantry, and the magical three-day chicken

Making great meals from bubkes is easy when you do it the Broke-Ass way!Broke-Ass has often been asked how she feeds her family of five on bubkes. The answer is: Shop as little as possible, and buy what only what you must, as cheaply as possible. Cutting down on marketing means you not only have more time to earn a damn living, but it also compels you to make — or grow — the stuff that you would have bought pre-made or -grown when you did make a damn living. DIY saves money. Back when Broke-Ass was unconcerned with saving …

Drinking problem

Get freaked about hydrofracking: now!

Like the sign says.Photo: Not an AlternativeBabydolls, behold the obvious: The situation in Japan is horrendous. Indeed, it trumps anything else that might previously have fallen under the aegis of horrendous. Having said that, there is another horrendous environmental threat that is gearing up to gush out of our collective faucets right here in the United States, and maybe even blow them up: hydrofracking. Hydrofracking — short for “hydraulic fracturing” — is a widespread technique deployed by natural gas companies in which a huge volume of chemicals, sand, and water are pumped underground to break apart rock and release gas. …

You Don't Have to Grow Up

On eco-architecture and urban farming: Are you kidding me with your f-ing farm skyscraper?

Find a place, do some work, grow some stuff: it ain’t rocket science.Photo: Tracie LeeJust last summer, Broke-Ass was invited to speak on a panel at the New York Horticultural Society with such luminaries of the environmental architectural movement as Amale Andraos and Dan Wood of WORK Architecture Co.; Fritz Haeg, artist, Edible Estates; and the esteemed James Wines of SITE. Broke-Ass was supposed to be there to make intellectual distinctions between Baby Boomers’ self-aggrandizing revolutions and Generation X’s more practical, local movements, since this is thought to be one of her areas of expertise. But as she sat there …

Necessity is a mother

Memo to ecovores: It’s cheaper being green

Listen up, locavores: Many of us live by the same ecologically sound principles as you, not so we can "live intentionally," but because we're broke.

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